Tag Archives: Kals

From Far Away: Part 5

Mindstryke grinned, “Everything I’ve heard about the Ascendancy is bad, so I can’t say I’m surprised. You’ll be the first person with the skills of a Dominator that I’ve worked with. The few times I’ve encountered them, they’ve been trying to kill me.”

He nodded toward one of the hallways, “We’ve got them down this way. We can’t keep them close enough that Ana would be in the range of the Dominator’s voice. We’ve got a buzzer to prevent that sort of thing, but we both know that accidents happen. Over here.” Continue reading From Far Away: Part 5

From Far Away: Part 4

The Defenders’ staff recommended a route for our approach that avoided air traffic from both O’Hare and Midway. Following their advice, I brought the jet in. Hal, an AI that specialized in predicting how best to win battles between fleets of starships, probably could have worked out a more direct route through Chicago’s many flight paths, but we weren’t in that much of a hurry.

Besides, it was best not to annoy people unless you needed to. Continue reading From Far Away: Part 4

From Far Away: Part 3

In that moment, I realized that Kals wasn’t speaking whatever they spoke in the Human Ascendancy. She spoke English and her accent sounded like the one out of old movies—somewhere between the US and British. I could only guess that wherever her implant downloaded it from had updated its language files in the 1950s.

I hoped that it automatically adjusted with exposure to new variants in the language. If not, she might be able to pass for someone from India who’d studied in the US and the UK. Hopefully, it wouldn’t come to that.

Katuk wouldn’t be able to pass for a human at all. Continue reading From Far Away: Part 3

From Far Away: Part 1

It wasn’t much different from picking someone up from the airport, provided the airport orbited at Lagrange point 4 and you had to pick them up in the Heroes’ League’s “jet”—which only resembled a jet in its shape.

You might see stars in the sky while you pick someone up from the airport, but you don’t see them in all directions including below you.

Also, when you go to the airport, you’re usually going to pick up family or friends. You’re not generally going with your girlfriend to pick up someone who once told you that you were “the one who got away.” Continue reading From Far Away: Part 1

Dealing With It: Part 9

Knowing that people sometimes noticed when the implant threw me a lot of information, I steeled myself for the onslaught and did my best to keep my face neutral.

The implant informed me that I had more than 30 messages to download. The majority were from the Xiniti High Command, informing me of military actions that the Xiniti had taken part in and how monitoring the Human Quarantine was going. According to Xiniti intelligence, the loss of a noticeable percentage of their fleet had caused the Human Ascendancy to withdraw from a number of worlds they’d been threatening to occupy.

In addition, the Ascendancy’s internal resistance had been gathering steam. Continue reading Dealing With It: Part 9

Trees & Shields: Part 36

Possible responses hung in my head, most of them bad. I settled on, “I’m sorry.   I wish we could have done something, but none of us are any good at healing.”

I thought back to my friend Alex. He was good at healing. It would have been nice if the Ghosts had grabbed him along with Rachel. He couldn’t have survived the trip without a spaceship, and everything I knew through my implant and Rachel said that they didn’t bother with them.

Kals shook her head. “Iolan could have done it if he had access to all his equipment. The Ascendancy killed her in more ways than one. I hate them. I don’t know how, but somehow we have to destroy them. Not everybody, but the Ascendant and the Ascendant Council, the Guard… It all needs to end.” Continue reading Trees & Shields: Part 36

Trees & Shields: Part 35

Four Hands looked into the camera or whatever he was using. It might just as easily have been an image captured from his brain by his implant.

He paused, giving all of us viewing a chance to look at him. Though I’d peg him as being in his late 20s (only a few years older than I was), he had bags under his eyes. I supposed that leading the Ascendancy forces after they’d been destroyed by us, followed by taking over the Ascendancy’s flagship, might be tiring and stressful.

“If any of the Cosmic Ghosts are listening, I ask you to save as many of my people as you can as you destroy the Ascendancy fleet. We’re not in charge, and we’re as susceptible to motivator commands as any human in the Ascendancy.” Continue reading Trees & Shields: Part 35

Trees & Shields: Part 28

I wasn’t sure whether Neves was dead, unconscious, or unconscious and dying. Either way, there was something bugging me.

“How did you get him? I thought he absorbed punches.”

Looking down at Neves’ body, Jaclyn said, “I knew that punching him would give him faster and harder to hurt, so I ran from him, thinking that maybe I’d be able to wear him down and then maybe run him past a bunch of Xiniti so they could shoot him with energy weapons. The problem was that he realized it and used a burst of energy to catch me. I punched him then because I had no choice. It knocked him sideways like I intended, and powered him up like I was trying to avoid, but it broke his… absorption field? and hurt him a little.” Continue reading Trees & Shields: Part 28

Trees & Shields: Part 12

Nick, Hideaway Surface

Kals walked up to us at about the same time as Katuk joined us.

As we backed up to let them into the group, Kals asked, “What’s your plan?”

“We don’t really have one,” I said. “We’re kind of working on backup plans in case the shields go down. Also, we missed the rest of what she said. Given that everyone’s looking tense, I’m guessing they’re just about to start?”

“Close,” Kals glanced back toward the shelter. “She made a big appeal to Mom and the Council to surrender and save the lives of all the people fighting today. It wasn’t much different than what they’ve said before.”

Cassie laughed. “It’s almost like they’re afraid to fight you.” Continue reading Trees & Shields: Part 12

Trees & Shields: Part 6

They poured over the shields, throwing themselves over by pushing off from the trees standing outside of the ring.

The only good thing that could be said is that this time they were all coming from the back half and left side of the shelter. That wasn’t good by itself, but it meant that Jaclyn and Tikki were cutting off routes past our defenses.

I aimed the sonics up at the Ascendancy soldiers. The smart ones were crawling down the trees in front of or between the ends of two shields. I didn’t dare aim the sonics there. They destabilized Kamia’s Abominator shields and I didn’t want to take down one of ours. Continue reading Trees & Shields: Part 6